Students back at Cal State University Channel Islands from their Thanksgiving break gathered for a vigil to remember victims and survivors of the shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill.
“It’s really nice to know that I have somewhere to come back to that is supportive and helpful in this awful long process we are having to go through,” student, Ruthie Nadler, said.
Nadler is one of 48 students from the university who were at the bar for college night on November 7th and survived the shooting.
“The flashbacks are constant and random things will trigger thoughts about it which is frustrating,” she said.
Nadler was with a group of friends celebrating a 21st birthday party at the Borderline.
At the vigil, her friends held each other in tears, remembering the 12 lives lost.
The school planned to have this vigil several weeks ago, but the recent wildfires postponed the healing process on campus.
“We were scheduled to do this right after the Borderline tragedy, but right afterwards with the wildfires the whole campus had to evacuate and close down,” Atticus Reyes, Student Government President, said.
For many of the survivors, it’s their first week back at school since the shooting.
“It’s hard to focus,” survivor, Alyssa Connaughton, said. “It’s hard to sit still and figure out biology when I can’t even be present.”
“There will be moments when I’m in a public setting and everything is ok and then the fear just hits me and I freak out and run out of the building,” student survivor, Madison Cummings, said.
The school’s faculty is encouraging students to take advantage of counseling to help them cope with the trauma.
“One of my main messages is that asking for help or accepting help isn’t a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength,” Tim White, CSU Chancellor, said.
Student Madison Cummings said this vigil is a step toward healing, but she would like the university to develop a support group for the 48 students who survived.
“I think it would be very helpful to have that organized event to know who each other are and give each other hugs and be like I’m happy you’re here,” she said.